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Brian Adam

TEDCRED 10+

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Why is the Nick Hanauer talk not posted?

I haven't been a member for long, but I've been watching TED talks for years now consistently checking in for new videos. Frankly, the talks have gotten a little bland in the past few months. Then I hear through the grapevine of Nick Hanauer's lecture and how Mr. Anderson has decided to censor it. I'm extremely disappointed in the decision. This is an issue on the mind of many people in America and those interested in American politics and economics. It's an something that deserves to be heard by many more people than the elite TED audiences, and what better way to spread this worthy idea than posting the lecture online, sooner rather than later. The cited reason for omitting the lecture was that it was "too political." I have to say that is a terrible excuse. When has TED attempted to remain apolitical? Speakers have discussed societal ills like poverty and war; Jonathan Haidt has put forth an explanation of the psychological differences between the Republicans and Democrats; Sam Harris proposed science can substitute religion as a source of morality, and very early on in TED's history Richard Dawkins was allowed to promote militant atheism; other hot button political issues like contraception and climate change have been discussed here (often more than once); and all of these speakers had the video of their quite political talks posted. All of a sudden we can't view here a perspective on the issue of income inequality from Mr. Hanauer? I seem to remember Richard Wilkinson discussing a very similar topic posted back in October 2011. Mr. Anderson, I think a more substantial explanation is in order regarding your decision not to post Mr. Hanauer's talk online other than it being "too political." I can't speak for anyone else, but I see the decision as an act of cowardice reflecting on the organization as a whole. It suggests that we, the public, have lost TED as a forum for intellectual discussion and consideration regarding important issues, political or otherwise.

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    May 24 2012: 1. "Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light,[3][4] or intervene to prevent alternate offers from reaching public exposure.[5]" -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship

    2. World English Dictionary@ http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/censor
    censor (ˈsɛnsə)
    — n
    1. a person authorized to examine publications, theatrical presentations, films, letters, etc, in order to suppress in whole or part those considered obscene, politically unacceptable, etc

    3."Economic censorship is more difficult to define. The Roman essayist Cicero used the immortal phrase "Cui bono?" (Who Profits? -- the ancient version of our "Follow the money."). But numbers may tell only part of the story. In a situation where there is economic censorship, is it isolated or undertaken in conjunction with some type of political censorship? Is there a monopoly within a certain country that is threatened by competition, or a class of oligarchs that is threatened by the emergence of real economic opportunity for smaller firms? Is the economy in a locale more prone to monopolistic arrangements than to genuine competition and innovation?" @ http://gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/

    4."To understand censorship, and the impulse to censor, it is necessary to strip away the shock epithet value that is attached to the word at first utterance. One must recognize that censorship and the ideology supporting it go back to ancient times, and that every society has had customs, taboos, or laws by which speech, dress, religious observance, and sexual expression were regulated. In Athens, where democracy first emerged, censorship was well known as a means of enforcing the prevailing orthodoxy." @ http://gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/
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        May 25 2012: Hi Don,

        Thanks for the link!

        What is your take on this quote?

        "if the public ignores laws enacted by a democratically elected representatives, the system falls apart."
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          May 25 2012: Hey MItch, not sure if you are asking me or Don. I think it is a sticky wicket of a question, not knowing the rule of law in Canada. However, if I apply that here in the United States, I would have to first take some exception or analysis of our so called democratically elected representatives who then pass laws that fall outside of their constituents wishes or majority. Rule of law should inherently be law for the people not against the people even though in some cases they are there to protect people from people so to speak. I dont' think rule of law should ever be written in stone and should be subject to people's input, criticism, debate and discussion, while being updated and applicable to the times while not being used to curtail the freedoms of the general public. Such as the indefinite detention issues raised by the US NDAA act. If we always swallow the rule of law without appropriate room for civil dissent and discussion, we will quickly find ourselves surrounded by a fence of fascism with not only no room for dissent but harsh penalties for doing so. That begins to impinge on our rights to freedom of speech as the law or its penalties are unevenly applied and make citizens fearful to express themselves. Sorry--long and complex and I am surely no expert. This would be a good topic questions for another conversation starter to be sure! Thanks for bringing it up Don and Mitch.
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        May 25 2012: Thanks Barbara,
        I appreciate your analysis - I had my own ideas, but wanted to get perspective - from both you and Don (since the quote is from Don's link)
        I think it high-lights a large part of the issue of this thread. It's good because it covers both the content, and the context of rules, representation and discression.
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        May 25 2012: Hi Don,

        Many thanks - I appreciate your well considered reply.
        I asked because, in the past, I have had a great belief in the rule of law, but now I'm not so sure.
        The quote is, to me. clearly "spin" .. but it has seeds of real concern in it. I was not ready to discard the sentiment, but undersatnd what is the real motivation of the writer.
        Maybe, if the system is not shown to represent the public, then .. surely it should be fixed before it falls apart? I would dearly love to return my full support to the rule of law.
        I too feel something approaching, but the storm of words covers it. I try to retreat into science, but there it is again.
        In this thread, it is a bit lke the demonstrations in Canada - difference being that TED are not elected .. and the answer must be in how serious they are to give representation to the subscriber.
        In my country, if I have a question about the way my representative is representing me, I write directly to ask. I am always replied - whether I agree or not, and sometimes I am peasantly surprised. I will sign pettitions and such public demonstrations only as a second resort.
        But there seems a deep bifurcation between the reality of government and the awareness of issues in the comunity. My most urgent lobby is to get psych resources into the detention camps holding refugees. A couple of programs were started, but not much result is forthcoming. And in the media, it is all about assuming the worst of refugees and how they can be punished and villified more. So much so, that it becomes a major policy vote-winner to hurt these defenceless people more.
        Indeed - clobber over heal. Many of the comments under today's talk on bad laws underscores this .. this brings tears to my heart..
        My best best regards to you Don.
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        May 24 2012: If you would like to continue the discussion without taking up the people's time here about my or your style of posting here is my email. bbbell2@uncg.edu
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      Aja B. 20+

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      May 24 2012: I realize this is somewhat ironic, given the topic under discussion, but we still need to follow the Terms of Use and refrain from personal insults, including calling each other censors and trolls. Sorry!

      Aja
    • May 25 2012: @Barbara Bearden: Linking to all those reference sites on the meaning of "censorship" is pointless here. Reason: TED still has some rights to the video, as they were the ones who produced it. It is still available on Youtube. TED could have taken a hard stance against it, and either 1. not have posted the video in the first place or 2. (if they did not post it themselves) have it pulled from Youtube for copyright violations. Instead, Chris links to it on his blog.

      We have all seen the talk, and we may all watch it again, as many times as we wish, from wherever we are. TED is not doing anything to stop us from doing so. How is it censorship?
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        May 25 2012: I would beg to differ John, nothing is pointless in the pursuit of learning or discussion.

        I simply posted the definitions I found on several cites with the website link so one could go and view the article in its entirety and decide for themselves or to help add to the discussion of whether or not people feel it is censorship of a kind--there are many example of private censorship if you read the articles as well as others--as this part of the topic is a recurring theme with other posters as well. I did not add comment to the post to let them stand as they are written for people to read and continue the expanded topic of what is censorship in this light or not, along with the broader economic topics at play. Certainly you are entitled to your opinion but have you read them? The conversation was extended by TED so obviously they feel there is some point as well to the discussions.

        By all means add your points as to why you don't think it is censorship or how you feel about them not posting it or the merits of the economic points, Nothing is pointless--that is why we are here in the first place.

        Thank you.
        • May 25 2012: Sure. I can go into details of whether or not it was pointless. But before that, do you agree that this was not a case of censorship?
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        May 25 2012: John, again with all due respect, I was not asking you to go into whether it was pointless. That is your opinion about my post. Fine but I disagree with you and am not going to defend the posting, it stands on its own without comment for discussion. Why don't you go read them in the entirety and then post on why you feel this is not a case of censorship be it personal or corporate under some of those definitions. Then read through the entire thread to see what all of have said and you will likely find your answers there. After you have posted your thoughts about the issues we are discussing with out making personal remarks about the "value" of a posting, I would love to reply to your answers with discussions on our thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner. Until then...have a great weekend.
        • May 26 2012: I guess you misunderstood. I made no personal remarks. I made no value judgments either. I did make a judgment about its aptness... after I read the comments.

          I gave my reason already: We have all seen the talk, and we may all watch it again, as many times as we wish, from wherever we are. TED is not doing anything to stop us from doing so. How is it censorship?

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